Administrative Law Judges


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The Federal Government employs Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) in a number of agencies throughout the United States. In general, ALJs prepare for and preside at formal proceedings required by statute to be held under or in accordance with provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), codified, in relevant part, in sections 553 through 559 of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.). ALJs rule on preliminary motions, conduct pre-hearing conferences, issue subpoenas, conduct hearings (which may include written and/or oral testimony and cross-examination), review briefs, and prepare and issue decisions, along with written findings of fact and conclusions of law. Cases may involve Federal laws and regulations in such areas as admiralty, advertising, antitrust, banking, communications, energy, environmental protection, food and drugs, health and safety, housing, immigration, interstate commerce, international trade, labor management relations, securities and commodities markets, social security disability and other benefits claims, and transportation.

To qualify for an ALJ position, an applicant must meet both the licensure and experience requirements and pass the OPM administrative law judge competitive examination. In addition to meeting the experience and licensure requirements, the ALJ examination also requires the completion of an Accomplishment Record, a Written Demonstration, and a Structured Interview. The Qualification Standard may be found at:

ALJ Register

The ALJ register is used as the source of names to make referrals to agencies for employment consideration when they have entry level ALJ vacancies to fill. It is OPM's responsibility to ensure that the ALJ register maintains a sufficient number of qualified ALJ candidates to meet the projected hiring needs of agencies, including enabling agencies to have an adequate number of choices for each position to be filled. Consequently, OPM will periodically reopen the ALJ examination as the need arises. Open periods for the ALJ examination are posted by a vacancy announcement on

Names are referred in numerical score order, based on the duty location of the position(s) to be filled and the geographical preference of applicants. It is the responsibility of the agencies to make selections from the list of candidates referred for employment consideration from among the highest three available names, taking into consideration veterans' preference rules regarding order of selection.

Ten-point preference eligible veterans may file an application for the ALJ examination, and be determined eligible for the register even after the examination is closed. To do so, please provide the required proof of veterans' preference entitlement by email to In addition, see information on Filing Applications After Announcements Close ( and general veterans' preference information (

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This page was last modified on 28 January 2015, at 14:30.

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